Edible Flower Dinner Party
This party was amazing! I can’t believe all the stuff that people came up with! The photos are beautiful and the food was delicious. We haven’t decided on the next theme or when it will happen, but I can’t wait! Now to the photos and the recipes!
The original recipe calls for pine nuts, but at least one person in the dinner group has a bad reaction to pine nuts! After he eats them, they make everything else taste really really bitter for a few days! So we thought it was best to skip those. And get this, Whole Foods doesn’t even have them in the bulk area anymore and are slowly phasing out the sale of pine nuts because a lot of people are having that same reaction! At least that’s what the very helpful lady working there told me. Crazy! Luckily almonds, especially blanched and slivered ones, are not overly powerful and so they make a good substitute here. Honestly, all these flavors are very light so you really do need to get a light tasting olive oil and I would say go ahead and be generous with the salt and the saffron. When you serve this pesto find some simple crackers that don’t have a flavor themselves and are overly salted. We served them with simple crackers and with a seeded bread and the bread was too much for this subtle spread. We changed a couple things to the recipe to make it have a little more flavor.
Squash Blossom Pesto
3 Tablespoons slivered almonds
2 Tablespoons very hot water
A generous pinch of saffron threads
2 cups loosely packed squash blossoms, about 12 blooms
1/3 cup coarsely grated Parmigiano cheese
1/3 cup lightly flavored olive oil
½ tsp of salt
In a dry skillet over medium, lightly toast the almonds until they start smell nutty and are lightly golden. Watch them carefully so they do not get dark brown or burn. Transfer to a kitchen towel and set aside to cool.
Pour the 2 Tablespoons of hot water over the saffron in a small bowl and leave to steep.
Pull the stamens out of the center of the squash blossoms and pinch off any hard stems or green leaves at the base. Lightly pull the blossoms apart and measure 2 loosely packed cups. Drop the blossoms in a food processor and pulse 2 – 3 times to break them up. Add the almonds, the cheese and the saffron with its water and pulse until everything is roughly chopped. Turn the machine on, and drizzle the olive oil in slowly. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. When all the oil is incorporated, add the salt to taste. If your cheese is salty, be sparing with extra salt.
Transfer the pesto to an airtight container and drizzle a very thin layer of olive oil over the surface. This version does not oxidize and turn black the way basil pesto does, so it only needs a bit of oil on top. Store the pesto in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Makes about ½ cup
Dan Hayes and Laura made Curried Daylilies (I missed photographing this dish!)
The daylilies are enhanced not only by the spicy curry sauce but also make good use of carrots, celery, TVP, and nuts. Serve over brown rice or with Indian bread.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
•1/4 cup sesame oil
•8 cups daylilies, sliced
•2 medium-size carrots, sliced
•4 celery stalks, sliced
•1 cup texturized vegetable protein (TVP), soaked for 10 minutes in
3/4 cup hot water, drained, soaking water reserved
•1/2 cup raw cashews or peanuts
•3/4 cup drained silken tofu
•1/4 cup dark-colored miso
•2 tablespoons curry paste
•Juice of 1 lime
•1 tablespoon kudzu or arrowroot
To make the sauté:
Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add daylilies, carrots, celery, TVP, and cashews or peanuts. Cook, stirring, for 10 minutes.
To make the sauce:
In a blender, combine tofu, miso, curry paste, lime, and kudzu or arrowroot. Process until smooth.
Pour the sauce into the skillet and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer the mixture for another 10 minutes.
Serve over brown rice or with Indian bread.
Yield: 6 servings
Anna and Chris brought a Snow Pea Salad
Recipe: The salad was snow peas, blanched real quick, with clover flowers and bee balm flowers. The dressing was honey, mustard, salt, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, corn starch, thyme and tarragon all shook up together.
Kristi’s Salad (The salad above is Anna’s. I didn’t get a photo of Kristi’s salad that did it justice.)
Here is the recipe for my Lavender Vinaigrette – got it off the Spice House website!
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- 1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon freeze-dried shallots
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons lemon peel
- 1 teaspoon lavender
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
In the cup of a food processor or blender, place the vinegar, shallots and lemon. Let sit about 5 minutes, until hydrated. Puree. While still running, add the sugar, lavender, salt, mustard, and white pepper. Slowly pour in olive oil. Transfer to a jar and shake in the thyme leaves. Toss with mixed greens.
Chef KZ Note: It was a little on the vinegar side upon tasting so I added about a tablespoon of honey to the mix to soften the acidic qualities of it. (Anna actually gets the credit for this little trick – she’s always there to save the day when I run into cooking trouble like this!)
Kathy and Martin made these two drinks!
2 oz gin
.5 oz créme de violette
.5 oz lemon juice
You put these in a shaker with ice, shake ’em, and pour into, like, a glass of some kind. Ideally something transparent so you can see the crazy color. Since it was a Sunday night Edible Flower Dinner Party, I went a little lighter on the gin and a little heavier on the violette. (Créme de violette is 20% alcohol and tastes like violets; gin is 40% alcohol and tastes like Pine-Sol.) I tried to garnish each with a candied violet petal atop a floating mint leaf, but the mint leaves had some buoyancy issues.
The second drink was basically a gussied-up hibiscus tea, based on a recipe by the infamous Heidi Swanson:
1 c dried hibiscus (a.k.a. flor de jamaica)
1 c sugar
ginger root (about a one-inch piece)
8 c water
rum, if you’re drinkin’
Like Heidi says, boil the water, dump the sugar and hibiscus in it — as well as the ginger root, peeled and thinly sliced, which I used and Heidi doesn’t — then stir to dissolve the sugar, turn off the heat, cover, and let steep for like ten or twelve minutes. Then strain that mess into a pitcher. Heidi seems to have more issues with the tea’s tendency to stain that I did, but it may be that she’s more sensitive to such things. Anyway . . . when it came time to serve the drink, I filled slightly more than half a glass with the tea and the rest of the glass with seltzer, plus about an oz of rum for people who wanted rum. Now that I think about it, I wonder if the rum wouldn’t have combined better with icewater instead of seltzer. Oh well.
Chris’ drink– The sun floridita daiquiri, no photo.
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1 oz Simple Syrup
1-2 oz white rum
3/4 oz maraschino liquor
add bar fine sugar to glass
add lime circle and grapefruit circle
garnish with sunflower petals
Kathy and Martin also made THREE different kinds of empanadas. All of which were amazing.
Okay, first the dough. We used Bittman’s recipe from How to Cook Everything, which every American should own and keep within immediate reach alongside a loaded firearm and the Bible. Observe:
2 c flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
.5 c vegetable oil
.5 c cold water
Super-easy, dude. You put the flour, baking powder, and salt in a food processor, close it up, and turn it on. After it’s been whirring along for five seconds or so, gradually pour in the oil (while it’s still running). Give it 10 additional seconds of processing, then gradually add the water until the dough suddenly forms a big nubbly clump. Unplug, open, remove, and knead that clump for a minute or so till it’s smooth. Wrap it in plastic and let it sit for awhile (we left it overnight; Bittman puts the minimum at 20 mins), then take it out, knead it again, and divide it into twelve pieces of roughly equal size.
If you want to make 48 empanadas, which we did, then do all of the above three more times.
Now things get labor-intensive. Roll those pieces into sixish-inch circles on a floured surface, stuff them with stuff, fold them over and seal them shut, brush them lightly with milk, and bake them for like 20 mins at 450 degrees. They should be some degree of crispy and some shade of light brown when they come out.
Stuffings! We used three:
1) artichoke, caramelized onion, and herb flowers (We lightly browned two chopped onions in olive oil, then added two cans of chopped-up artichoke hearts — artichokes are flowers! — and cooked them just long enough to burn off the liquid. After the filling had cooled, I added herb flowers, just what happened to be blooming in our windowboxes: mostly basil, but also some dill and chive.)
2) huauzontles and Oaxacan cheese (We steamed some well-stemmed huauzontles — the stems can be kind of tough — drained them thoroughly, and packed them in the empanadas next to a couple of chunks of Oaxacan string cheese; the cheese cooked down dramatically, making these empanadas kind of hollow, but they were still pretty tasty, I thought.)
and finally, 3) squash blossoms, ricotta, and epazote (This is based on a recipe — Empanadas de Tlaxiaco — collected by Diana Kennedy in her amazing Oaxaca al Gusto: we combined about three cups of drained ricotta, two cups of chopped squash blossoms — thanks for helping us find these, Beth! — and like a quarter-cup of fresh epazote; I also added some chili powder and some salt. Mix it all together, don’t cook anything, and stuff those empanadas silly.)
The directions couldn’t be easier: Microwave popcorn, then drizzle with honey, sprinkle with crumiel and dried lavender and mix. Heather did not measure anything out she just adjusted to taste.
Rose- Cinnamon Scones with lemon curd scented with Rose water
3 1/2 c flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 Tbs baking powder
3/4 c unsalted butter, cold
3/4 c sugar
1 1/3 c half and half cream
1 tbs rose water
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg yolk for brushing tops
Pink sugar for tops
Preheat oven to 400F, and prepare a baking sheet with silpat or parchment.
Sift the flour, salt, cinnamon, and baking powder together. Add the butter in small pieces and begin to work into the flour mixture with your fingers. The mixture is the correct texture when it is crumbly with some larger pieces of butter here and there.
Make a well in the center and add the cream, rose water, and vanilla. Mix gently until you have a sticky ball of dough. Turn out on a floured surface and knead a few times to help it hold together. Roll out, 3/4 inch thick and cut with a large cutter.
Transfer to pan, brush with beaten egg yolks and sprinkle with sugar. Let stand for 20 minutes.
Bake for 15 -20 minutes, or until tops are golden. Allow to cool slightly.
And for the lemon curd:
1 1/2 c sugar
4 egg yolks
1 c lemon juice
2 Tbsp lemon zest
¾ C unsalted butter, melted
2-4 drops of rose water
In a microwave safe bowl whisk egg yolks, sugar, juice, and zest, until smooth. Microwave for one minute intervals until the mixture is thick and coats the back of a metal spoon. Remove from microwave and add butter, a little at a time, whisking smooth after each addition. Let cool completely. Store for us to 3 weeks.
Jill made lavender cupcakes, but I don’t have the recipe.
The Hutsons brought an amazing baklava with bee balm syrup and a snow pea salad with clovers and bee balm flowers. They were also responsible for the strangely appealing hot dog flowers!
Here is the recipe for the hot dog flowers:
The hot dog flowers were half a hot dog on a stick, incised so that when you stick them in boiling water for a minute, the skin contracts and makes a flower.
I think that is everyone. Enjoy the photos and try some of the recipes!